It’s no secret looking at Brittany Martin that the 6-foot-3 sophomore is a player the Wichita State women’s basketball team has never had under coach Jody Adams.
Wichita State has never had a true center, someone who makes the opposition think twice about driving the lane. Adams has always found a way around its lack of size in the post, but Martin’s presence gives WSU a new future to look forward to.
The hold up, at least in her first season at WSU, has been Martin’s consistency. The potential is there, it’s just a matter of tapping into it on a regular basis.
“It really goes back to the game slowing down for her because right now it’s so fast,” Adams said. “When she is playing at the right tempo with the rest of her teammates, she’s a big presence in there and that’s something we’ve never had before.”
The difference when Martin enters a game and performs well is immediately recognizable. Her long arms give her an inherent advantage in the post, as she is capable of swatting away shots and pulling down rebounds like no one else on WSU (18-4, 9-1 Missouri Valley), which hosts Loyola on Friday.
But what could set Martin apart is her athleticism, as she runs the floor well and is a big target in transition for the Shockers.
“That’s when she does a great job of transferring what she works on so hard in practice into the game,” WSU senior Kelsey Jacobs said. “She stays patient. She stays down in her stance. She bends those long legs of hers, and just finishes around the rim, like she’s supposed to.”
On this team, with a starting five already set, Martin’s role is simple. And as she transitions from the junior-college ranks, that’s probably best.
“I’m a role player,” Martin said. “I box out, I rebound. If I have the ball in my hands, then I lay it back up. I just have to play all-around good defense.”
So far, meeting Adams’ demands of consistency has been a challenging task. Martin is averaging just 7.7 minutes per game in Valley play ad didn’t see the floor in three games.
The positive is that she has played in five consecutive games, scoring in each, with her best coming in a win over Southern Illinois on Jan. 25, when Martin tallied a career-high nine points with three rebounds and a block in nine minutes.
But Adams, always striving for the best, doesn’t consider that consistency. At least not yet.
“I’ll know when she takes a stride when she puts them back-to-back in big-time games,” Adams said. “With her, it’s the consistency that requires hard work. She’s going to have to do the difficult tasks to get the results she wants and her team needs from her.”
LOYOLA AT WICHITA STATE
When: 7 p.m., Friday
Where: Koch Arena
Records: LU 4-18, 2-9 MVC; WSU 18-4, 9-1 MVC